When a family member falls into the traps of addiction, the family does everything in their power to help the addict with his/her dependency. There’s no doubt that drug addiction doesn’t affect the addict only, it affects the family as a whole, financially, emotionally and functionally. The family might be feeling mixed emotions that can sometimes lead to despair.
Moreover, somewhere in between spending a significant amount of time and energy thinking about ways to help the addict, you also become affected by the addiction. You become a changed person, someone you’ve never known before. You ask yourself: How do I help? Is it my fault? Am I doing more harm than good? Why can’t they just stop using drugs? If your child is one of the millions of people struggling with drug abuse, it’s completely understandable that you feel sad, confused, and unsure where to look for help.
Tips for Families of Addicted Individuals
Here are some tips that can help you as a family take care of your own health and provide the love and support your loved one needs in order to heal:
Learn about the addiction.
If you’re worried about your loved ones drug use, it’s vital to know everything there is about the disease. Learning about the nature of the addiction, how it develops, what is looks like, and what type of help is available, will give you a better understanding of the issue and how to best deal with it. This acquired knowledge will boost your family’s sense of hope and will make you feel more confident that there’s a treatment for the addiction. Instead of blaming yourself for the drug use of your loved one, it will show you how a person’s addiction stems from changes in brain chemistry and electrical impulse alterations. There are a wide range of resources available that can help you gain insight into the core of addiction. This includes family therapy, books and online research papers.
Open communication can greatly strengthen the relationship between a family. Through open and assertive communication, you can easily notice problems early and respond to them in an appropriate manner. Listen carefully to what they have to say and ask your loved one open-ended questions such as: How can I help you today? Why did you start using? What will help you stop? What activities would help you stay sober?
With the help of open communication, you’ll learn more information about your child and allow them to openly express their feelings, struggles, and hopes. The key to forming a healthy relationship with your child is to stay focused, be non-judgemental, display a sense of understanding, and reduce negative reactions.
Attend family therapy sessions
Families of an addict are often overcome by depression, anger, worry, guilt and helplessness. The healthy functionality of the family has changed into quarrels, cries for help, and unending struggles. Unfortunately, most of the time, the family doesn’t know how to help. For that reason, the best option is to seek help from a well-rated treatment facility.
Family therapy is a type of treatment that targets the whole family rather than the individual. Its intent is to show that addiction is not merely an individual disease, but rather a family disease. This type of treatment is based on the notion that all families are connected. By modifying one component of the system, you can affect the other components. A healthy family can lead to a successful and long-term recovery of the addict. However, it’s vital to know that family therapy should be completed in combination with other treatments. This includes individual therapy, group therapy, medication management, and residential rehabilitation programs.
Overall, the family therapy sessions will involve the following:
- Education about the addiction
- New communication skills that can be used among all family members
- Education on the steps required to rebuild a healthy family structure
- Information on the addict’s progress
- Information to help the family understand that the addiction is a family disease and not an individual disease
The most notable benefits of family therapy include:
- Improvement of the mental and physical state of the family
- The substance user gaining awareness of their behaviors
- Improved communication styles
- How to understand and avoid enabling behaviors
- Prevention of the substance use spread throughout the family
- Identifying strengths and weaknesses within the family
- Setting goals and developing strategies to resolve challenges
Become part of a mutual support group
By attending a trusted program like Al-Anon or Alateen, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with understanding peers. These programs offer a safe and non-judgemental space for family members to share their struggles, learn about addiction, and discuss problems with a reliable group. By attending meetings such as these, family members can lower levels of stress, improve their psychological health, and obtain a better quality of life.
As a parent of an addicted child, you might be suffering from a multitude of physical and mental health conditions. They might include anxiety, depression, obesity, heart disease, and reduced immune system. In order to take care of your loved one, you have to take care of yourself as well. There is a multitude of ways you can practice self-care and improve your overall well-being. That includes doing activities that you enjoy, exercising, spending time with people you love, asking and accepting help from others, practicing relaxation skills, and joining a support group. Try something you’ve never dared trying before, like playing an instrument, taking photographs, volunteering in your neighbourhood, gardening, cooking, or crafting. This will increase your competency in decision-making, consistency, and encouragement.
Become an addiction advocate.
Become part of the change in communities that view addiction as a weakness. You can take action and make a difference in your town for addiction advocacy. As a parent who has faced addiction, you can share some of the acquired knowledge that you’ve gained from therapy sessions and private research in order to help your child. You can educate the people around you on the dangers of addiction, the ways to best treat it, and eventually help to shift the nation’s prejudice about addiction. Speaking up can be a courageous and humane thing to do. Your tasks will be organizing addiction recovery advocacy events, developing position papers and statement, informing and encouraging dialogue through blogs and other social communities, as well as disseminating the latest surveys and research data on drug trends.
For more information please call this Toll Free 24/7 Addiction Treatment Helpline at (844) 439-4765. This is a completely confidential call. If you have health insurance it often covers 100% of the treatment cost. So please call now!